Support HB3468

If we support SQ788, here is why we should all be supporting HB3468.

First…some explanations as we all may have forgotten our civics lessons.  Laws in Oklahoma can be made in TWO separate ways.

The first is legislative, like HB3468 would be.  A potential law, called a bill, is introduced in either the senate or the house.  It runs thru a committee and if it passes thru the committee it can be voted on by the entire body, if it passes there it goes to the other body.  If it passes both the house and the senate it then goes to the Governor for signature.  So, with HB3468, it needs to get out of committee, then will be voted on by the house, then will go to a senate committee and senate vote.  If it passes there it will go to the Governor for signature.

The second way a potential law could become law is by petitioning the state and approval in a statewide vote.  This is what we did with SQ788.  Gain enough signatures to be place on a statewide election with a YES/NO vote.  Going this route side steps the Legislature and the Governor…BUT..we still need a YES vote on June 26th, 2018!

So, lets say we pass SQ788 with no legislative action this year.  Guess what happens on August 26, 2018, when cards and licenses should be made available?  NOTHING.  That is right, nothing.  SQ788 cannot be implemented without some legislative action.  SQ788 puts marijuana regulation at the State Department of Health.  Not only have they said they do not want it, they do not have the necessary rule making authorities to handle it.  The Health Department was set up under completely different auspices then regulating a marijuana program, so changes have to be implemented.  Those changes can only come from the Legislature.  So with no legislative action we will be waiting on the legislature to re-convene in January of 2019 in the hopes that we can negotiate something like HB3468.

Now lets consider if we continue to work with the legislature on HB3468.  This is EXACTLY what we would have to be doing in January of 2019 anyway!  The nice thing is that we have the house leadership willing to work with us on a smooth implementation of SQ788 should in pass in June.  We have a bill author, Rep Jordan, who is very diligently keeping to the spirit and umbrella that we circulated as SQ788.  I really cannot even imagine a better and more cooperative scenario.

Further, we need some deep definitions within SQ788.  We missed testing, we did not define security needs in dispensaries, we did not address workers comp issues.  Many many, things need better definition with SQ788.  Rep Jordan is saving the state millions of dollars by doing this now.

While it may seem foreign to some, I would encourage everyone to get on the phone or send an email to their senators and house members that we are supporting HB3468!

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First, and as always, I want to thank each and every one of you for your contributions to SQ788, Oklahomans For Health, and what we all do on behalf of the many patients who could benefit from medical cannabis.

Along those lines, we want to avoid issues with implementation of SQ788 should it pass.  Without legislative action this term, if SQ788 passes, we will be handing our medical marijuana program to the most corrupt state agency in a decade.  Further, it will take legislative action to implement SQ788 within the department of health.  They will need changes in procedures and rules to handle regulation of SQ788 and that can ONLY be done by the legislature.  Without actions now, these changes will at least take one year and perhaps two.  No one wants that.  Further, we would be dealing with an entire legislature with ideas on what and how they think this should look and they could make changes post vote.  Again, we want to avoid this scenario.
We were approached by members of leadership in the house about asking our advise on beginning this process NOW.  There are certainly members of the legislature that want SQ788 to be smoothly implemented when it passes.  No one wants a situation where the law could not be implemented as it opens the state up for lawsuits, and will certainly inflame our community.  HB3468 represents a drill down into needed regulations WITHIN SQ788.  We had always envisioned a need for this and by doing this now, the state is being saving millions of dollars.  Further we gain a seat at the table that we potentially would not have down the road.
Consider, we missed testing in SQ788, everyone agrees we need that!  We missed rules around open blasting.  We did not address workers comp.  We have no grow regulations.  We have no process regulations.  We have no dispensary regulations and I think everyone would agree that security requirements, how to accept a patient, etc all need to be addressed.
SQ788 represents one of the most progressive medical marijuana laws in the country.  No other medial marijuana law is as tightly regulated (physician recommendation over checkbox of conditions), and no other medical marijuana law more closes matches the existing system physicians are used to working under.  Many lawmakers get that and want Oklahoma to be a in leadership position here nationally.
Help us spread the word!
Chip Paul
Oklahomans for Health
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